British Columbia

Giving Tuesday sparks reminder to give year-round

Critics of the online fundraising campaign say efforts are misplaced by focusing on December, when charities are already ripe with donations.

Critics of the online fundraising campaign say efforts are misplaced in December

A volunteer sorts through some of that donations given to the Surrey Food Bank on #GivingTuesday. (CBC)

The intentions behind the online charitable campaign Giving Tuesday may be positive, but critics say its efforts are misplaced. 

#GivingTuesday, or #GivingTuesdayCa in Canada, comes on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and encourages people to think about donating their time and money.

Brady Josephson works with charities on their marketing efforts and sees two key concerns with the campaign.

When it first emerged, he saw charities defaulting to just tweeting and emailing to ask for donations.

"It became less about why people should care about these issues, or why they should support your organization," said Josephson. "It became about 'You should give us money because it's Tuesday."

Three years later, he believes charities have done better by implementing more creative ideas such as donation-matching campaigns. 

However, he still takes issue with the campaign's timing.

"December is already a very rich month of giving. About 30 per cent of all online donations come in that month — 12 to 15 per cent in the last three days alone," he said.

Josephson says spring and summer, when contributions typically dip, is also a good time to donate.

Lys Hugessen, the co-founder of Giving Tuesday Canada, responded to the criticism by saying their campaign is no reason to be "cynical."

"It's good to have this reminder to think about others and think about the community," she said. "We do call this the opening day of the giving season, although it's a one-day celebration."

Josephson agrees. He says any opportunity to encourage community contributions is always good.

But he also hopes the many corporations that have jumped on the Giving Tuesday bandwagon will take the campaign as just an entry point to further their involvement.